Born near Krakow in 1030, he became a priest and was ordained bishop of Krakow in 1072. Later, he was to become involved in the political situation in Poland, and was known for his outspokenness. He directly opposed the king, excommunicating him. The king ordered him killed, and when the soldiers refused, the king killed him himself.

St John Paul preached a homily in 1979 in Krakow, and here is a short extract: ‘Just as a baptised person comes to Christian maturity by means of this sacrament of Confirmation, so Divine Providence gave to our nation, after its Baptism, the historical moment of Confirmation. Saint Stanislaus, who was separated by almost a whole century from the period of the Baptism and from the mission of Saint Adalbert, especially symbolises this moment by the fact that he rendered witness to Christ by his own blood. … This is therefore our meditation on the seven years of St Stanislaus, on his pastoral ministry in the See of Krakow, on the new examination of his relics, that is to say his skull, which still shows the marks of his mortal wounds — all of this leads us today to a great and ardent prayer for the victory of the moral order in this difficult epoch of our history’.

May we receive something of the courage of St Stanislaus in the challenges we meet in our own faith and practice, and may God bless you this day.